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New smart farming Strategic Advisory Group to lead farming into the future

You’ve heard of smart phones, smart watches, smart homes and smart TVs. Smart farming is now the focus of a new ISO Strategic Advisory Group.

Kenneth Irons with Standards New Zealand National Manager Carmen Mak

Kenneth Irons with Standards New Zealand National Manager Carmen Mak

Standards New Zealand was approached for national representation on this global committee shaping the future of data-driven and standards-enabled farming.

As former Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs once said ‘Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat’. Innovation is at the core of smart farming, which looks to incorporate and join together new approaches and innovations in agriculture, horticulture, apiculture and aquaculture. With agriculture exports contributing over $40 billion a year to New Zealand’s economy, improving yields and efficiencies benefits the nation.

Smart farming is the ‘networking of food production’. To work efficiently it requires standardisation of digital technologies, from data collection, formats and interfaces, to the optimisation and processes of food production and interconnectivity across the entire value chain of the food industry. It’s interconnectivity from farm to fork.

Combining innovative technologies (such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, open source software) with new systematic approaches (like circular economy, vertical farming, meat substitutes) requires a multitude of new standards necessary for a future-proofed world food supply. The smart farming Strategic Advisory Group will consider the increasing pressure on the food chain and need for adaptation from climate change, the need to feed growing populations in a sustainable way and the risks of pandemics, ultimately looking for synergies in the solutions for each.

Representing New Zealand

Leading farming technology businessman Kenneth Irons has been nominated by Standards New Zealand to represent New Zealand. He brings a wealth of experience as chair of AgriTech New Zealand, the peak industry body for New Zealand’s agricultural technology sector and as managing director of Precision Farming Limited and Precision Tracking Limited. A Kiwi with a global perspective having lived in five different countries, Kenneth brings first-hand expertise in incorporating technology to provide accurate, electronic and real-time data to underpin decision-making.

An eye on the future

While New Zealand has considerable expertise, involvement in the Strategic Advisory Group offers ample opportunity to learn from others. Agritech is a growing industry – currently worth around $1.5 billion to export – and AgriTech New Zealand is already working on data standards and data interoperability within New Zealand with the support of the government’s Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP).

This Strategic Advisory Group has a mandate to deliver its findings and recommendations in the form of a 'roadmap on smart farming' in September 2022. Aiming to identify potential standardisation needs and gaps, the roadmap will look at the environment of standardisation across the whole value chain and in relation to the United Nation's sustainable development goals. Additional industry specific experts may be recruited onto subgroups that consider specific topics such as ‘food loss and food waste’.

The future of farming rests in many important ways in smarter, technology-enabled, sustainable and efficient production of food and fibre. With our representative Kenneth Irons at this global forum - working collaboratively with representatives from other food producing nations - the resulting standards will help underpin and future-proof New Zealand’s consistent, quality food production across a shifting world stage.

Get involved in international standards

The work of international standards organisations relies on dedicated contributors like Kenneth to provide expertise on a wide range of subject matters. Vacancies for international committees are posted to our website. Be at the forefront of international good practice and guidance.

International standards committees are actively recruiting.

ISO and IEC Technical Committee participation